Saudia, the flagship carrier of Saudi Arabia, has officially joined Skyteam, making it the first Middle Eastern carrier to be affiliated with the global airline alliance.
The carrier, with hubs in Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam, has added a total of 51 new destinations to the Skyteam network across the Arabian Peninsula, the Indian subcontinent and North Africa, including Islamabad, Colombo and Alexandria.
“We are responding to passenger demand for increased travel choice within the Middle East by adding a significant player from the region,” said Michael Wisbrun, Skyteam’s managing director.
The Skyteam membership is part of Saudia’s long-term growth strategy that is scheduled to be complete next year (see story here), which also involves the rebranding of the airline, enhancing onboard products, restructuring core operations and modernising aircraft fleet.
Prior to the rebranding, Saudia was known as Saudi Arabian Airlines, although the Saudia name was in fact used by the airline between 1972 and 1996. At the time of writing the carrier's website was still showing the Saudia Arabia Airlines logo. Below is the new one.
Middle East Airlines, Lebanon's flag carrier, is also poised to join Skyteam (see story here) later this year, reflecting a growing global importance of airlines and airports in the Middle Eastern region. Keep your eyes peeled for an in-depth look at airports across the Middle East in the Business Traveller Asia-Pacific July/August 2012 issue.
For more information, visit www.saudiairlines.com